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Virginia Wells

Virginia Wells

Top Travel Packing Tips From Canberra’s Friendly Petsitter

We’ve got a guest blogger Kristen Holzapfel formerly from Canberra’s Friendly Petsitter today. With her job, she finds herself living out of a suitcase so she’s written a blog post to share the way she organises her bags. Her blog will not only give you an insight into her life but will also give you some tips on how to travel light with great tips for travel packing. See also Bobby Graham’s travel packing tips here. Here’s what she has to say…

Packing for a gypsy lifestyle

I’m a pet sitter who, for the past three years, has lived in other people’s homes and looked after their pets while they go away. The average length of a booking varies but is usually around 7-10 days. This means I live out of a suitcase and am often asked how I manage to pack all my belongings into this gypsy lifestyle.

The Bags

It’s taken me years to figure out the perfect solution for staying organised on the road and, in pursuit of this perfection, I’ve bought and discarded so many bags. I should have bought shares in Bags To Go!

It’s entirely possible that I’ll continue to adapt and refine the possessions I carry and the manner in which I carry them. But, for now, I think I’ve found the closest I’m gonna get to perfection: One large suitcase on wheels, one small suitcase on wheels and a large-ish toiletries bag.

Petsitter's organised bags
Luggage perfection!

Everyday Essentials

There are, of course, some items that are used every day and must be easily accessible. These include:

  • medications
  • clean socks, underwear and bras
  • toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, nail care items and a hairbrush
  • half a dozen clean tops and bottoms
  • sneakers (vital for dog walking) and one or two pairs of other everyday shoes.
  • clothes brush (because pet hair)

The first three items will be found in the smallest of my three cases – the toiletries bag. The last two items are stowed in the biggest case, which I affectionately refer to as my ‘Chest of Drawers’. My top travel packing tip is to use ‘cells’. I swear by ‘packing cells’. Each cell is used as a ‘drawer’. I pack tops into one cell, bottoms into another, tights/pantyhose into another etc. Being able to find whatever I want within seconds makes my life so much easier.

Petsitter's organised bags
Organised packing in cells

Occasional Items

There are other items I need only occasionally. They include:

  • winter woollies, such as gloves, beanies, scarves etc.
  • summer accessories, such as hats, swimmers, sunglasses etc.
  • other shoes. Honestly, I spend most of my life rotating between 2 or 3 pairs of shoes but every so often I really do feel like something different. So I keep a couple of pairs of heels and summery sandals in my van, too.
  • Makeup. I rarely wear it, but every so often there is an occasion that worthy of makeup and it’s kinda fun to bring it out.

All of these items are carried in my middle-sized suitcase. I don’t need to carry it into every booking, so it often stays in the van until needed.

Canberra Organiser, Travel
Contents of the middle-sized suitcase

The Van

My van is organised too. In there I do keep a few items I don’t strictly need, but they make me happy when they’re nearby. I keep a NutriBullet in my van because I enjoy making smoothies. I also enjoy reading and my ‘To Read’ pile is usually tall. Thus, I’ve created room in my van for these items. Even though I live as a gypsy, I don’t have to forego the things that make life fun and enjoyable 😊

WellSorted Petsitting Van
Kristen’s organised van

Some items need to be hung up, rather than folded into a suitcase. Obviously, I try to keep these items down to an absolute minimum. I’ve installed 2 hooks in my van. One where I can hang one of those clothes-hanger-full-of-little-pockets contraptions. These little pockets contain all my costume necklaces and bracelets.

The other hook carries:

  • black dress (every girl should own one)
  • black dress pants (every girl should own a pair)
  • long skirts
  • several winter coats or summery dresses.
Organised Van for Business
Hanging items in Kristen’s van

While it’s not usual to travel as much as I do, I wouldn’t change it. Because travelling is a small price to pay for the pleasure of being surrounded by precious fur-babies all day.

For keeping that price low, I have to thank my van, my bags and Virginia’s top tips!

I hope these travel packing tips might help you stay organised on your next holiday. Perhaps it will give you ideas for things you can pack into separate bags or dividers or even what can you ditch.

About the author

WellSorted Petsitter Canberra

Kristen is the Former Owner of Canberra’s Friendly Petsitter.  She is also the author of “Selfless: a social worker’s own story of trauma and recovery” written about her previous life as a social worker and her life to date. She’s a long-time follower of WellSorted and (obviously) enjoys long walks (through Bag shops LOL) with her doggies.

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